Friday, October 14, 2011

Le Village Cafe an Intriguing Option for Your Breakfast Needs

If you look at the Norristown, Pa. area (and if you are not from there, we apologize and will get something for you up soon) right now, there is a surprising dearth of options in the greasy-spoon-breakfast diner category. The Trooper Diner consistently disappoints. Last we checked, Astoria Family Restaurant provided decent food with service that verges on the horrendous. Christine's? With this thought in mind, we decided to try Le Village Cafe, a low-key spot in Norristown's Fairview Village Shopping Center. Turns out the food is quite good, yet not without room for improvement.

It was with slight concern that I settled into my seat at the neatly bedecked bistro, seeing as myself, Spicy, and Saucy Jr. were three of only seven people in the restaurant - two other customers, a server, and an executive chef (or cook, if you are not inclined to glom onto "celebrity chef" nomenclature). However, it was a weekday and for all I know the weekends see this place packed to the gills.

The service was quite efficient. Our server did not waste time in taking our order, she gave the wife several fills of her coffee without spilling on our son's head, and she allowed me to switch from orange juice to Coke without charging me for an extra drink (it is surprising how many times restaurants do this although I suppose it is their prerogative).

The ambience of the place was quite appealing. The decor had a somewhat European feel, which I suppose it better when you are hoidy-toidy enough to use the descriptor "Le" as opposed to "The." Also the music playing over the loud speaker during our meal emanated from XPN, which I believe is a very underused option for restaurant background music. In any event, I enjoyed it and thought it better than alternative options like whatever the Top 40 radio station is playing these days or, considering the French feel, crusty Edith Piaf tunes.

For my meal, I chose the Caliente (yes, I know there should be an accent on that second "e," but I don't know how to do it!) omelette, which consisted of the usual suspect - egg - along with jalapenos, sausage, tomatoes, onion, cheddar cheese, and a salsa topper. It also came with home fries and your choice of bread. The omelette was delicious. All ingredients seemed remarkably fresh, especilly the jalapenos. In other words, no can openers were utilized in the making of this breakfast. Special credit goes to the conservative application of the onions. Quite frankly, I am not a fan and might have asked for my omelette without them if I knew they were in there. But it certainly did not overwhelm the dish. The kick that was advertised by the "caliente" tag was more than present. I may not have even needed the hot sauce that I applied. An all-around gem, if I dined at the place ten times, I would probably order it nine.

If there was one negative, it would be that, while the dish was not undercooked in any way, I may have appreciated a little more of a browning of the omelette. I like my omelette firm and this one was probably a little softer than I usually prefer (the same can actually be said about the home fries; then again, it can also be said that they were delicious). However, these little nit-picks in no way affected my enjoyment of the meal and it was clear that these guys were trying to provide the customer with a slightly deeper culinary experience than you would get at the average sassy-waitress joint.

It should be said that Le Village Cafe is not simply a breakfast spot. They also serve lunch and dinner, even offering the occasional price-fixed specialty night. Some of the options look very intriguing, such as the Lobster Ravioli, the Chicken Madeira, and the Blackened Shrimp and Gnocchi. Top any of those dishes off with a bottle of wine - it's a BYOB - and you've got yourself a pretty decent night on the town. That, of course, is provided that you don't also pair it with a movie, at which point you will have to deal with the iPhone and BlackBerry brigade. That always spoils my nights.

Next time you are in the Norristown area looking for a place to eat, keep Le Village Cafe in mind. It is, as Ms. Piaf would most likely say, "Tres bien." (That means "very good"; I had to look it up too.)


Le Village Cafe
1013 Valley Forge Road
Norristown, PA 19403

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